Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Discovering your History

Title: Finding Miracles by Julia Alvarez 
Publisher: Laurel Leaf
264 pages
Genre: YA

Synopsis: In spite of her family's openness, Milly Kaufman has never wanted to talk about her adoption. However, during ninth grade, Pablo Bolívar, a refugee from an unnamed Central American country, joins her class and immediately identifies her as someone who might have come from his family's hometown. Then, her grandmother attempts to make a will that differentiates between her and her siblings. While her mother and father's angry reaction makes the woman back down, their increasingly close relationship with Pablo's family makes it impossible for Milly to stop thinking about the parents who placed her for adoption and the war-torn nation she came from. When that country's dictator is deposed in a democratic election, the Bolívars go home to visit and invite Milly along. There she discovers a world quite different from her Vermont home, an extended family, a boyfriend in Pablo, and several possible sets of birth parents. She realizes, too, how much she loves her own family, and they join her for a grand reunion.

Review: This is a great YA book about the struggle to fit in, find your identity and the knowledge that everyone has these feelings regardless of how they became part of the family.  This book gives believable first hand description of adoption issues–Milly's feelings of abandonment and difference and her sister's fear that Milly's increased identification with her birth country will destroy their close relationship. It touches on the ways in which different family members view adoption, acceptance, and the need to know where you come from. Fabulous book.

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